Ever hold a shiny new penny in your hand and wonder where it came from? Chances are it came from the Denver Mint, the largest producer of circulated coins in the world. Authorized by Congress in 1862, the Mint first opened as an Assay office, collecting the found gold from local miners, melting it down and returning it in the form of easier-to-use gold coins or bars. In the early 1900’s the government began manufacturing official coins at the Denver Mint and today the mint is one of two United States coinage facilities (Philadelphia is the other) which together produce all of the United States’ coins, up to 80 million coins a day.
Tours Of The Denver Mint.
Visitors to the Denver Mint can learn how coins are manufactured as well as the history of the Mint. Denver’s facility has a rich history in the western territory and for many years was Colorado’s most protected building. Guided tours take a look at the fine art of crafting coins, from the intricate designs and making of molds to the actual production of the coins, known as “striking.”
Tours of the Mint are free however some preparation is necessary to make the most of your tour. Located in downtown Denver at 320 W. Colfax Avenue, across Cherokee Avenue from the Denver City and County Building, the U.S. Mint at Denver is open to the public Monday through Friday from 8 AM to 2 PM. Reservations are required for all tours and visitors are encouraged to register for their tour as early as possible. Some tours fill up very quickly, especially during peak vacation months. Tours for individuals, families and groups smaller than 15 can be arranged through the Mint’s web-based reservation system, up to two months before your planned visit. Visit www.usmint.gov/mint_tours for more information.
Groups larger than 15 must make their reservations through the Office of Public Affairs at 303-405-4759 at least two weeks in advance. All tour visitors must be at the Mint no later than 15 minutes before the start of their tour. This is especially important because there is no parking available at the Mint. Parking is available in the downtown area with both lots and metered spaces. Make sure that you arrive early enough to find parking and then walk to the Mint’s tour entrance.
Another important thing to remember is that virtually nothing can be carried into the Mint. This includes cameras, camera cell phones, purses, handbags, backpacks, strollers, diaper bags, food, or pointed objects such as ballpoint pens or even umbrellas. A small billfold that can be carried in your pocket with identification, credit cards or cash is all that is permitted so remember to leave the rest of your valuables in the car before heading to your tour.
Visitors should also remember that the Denver Mint is a secure, U.S. government facility. It is subject to Department of Homeland Security alerts and whenever the national security level reaches CODE ORANGE the Mint will close and tours will be cancelled. Visitors are subject to search and all visitors must enter through a metal detector.
Once inside however be prepared to enjoy a fascinating look at an integral part of American history. The tour itself will excite visitors as it travels back in time to an era where gold and silver miners and shouts of “Pike’s Peak or Bust” ruled the day. After your tour, visit the Gift Shop located next to the Visitor’s Center offering commemorative coins, Mint souvenirs, books, games and other memorabilia.
Getting To The Denver Mint.
From either north or southbound I-25, exit at Colfax Avenue and travel east on West Colfax. The mountains should be behind you with the gold dome of the State Capitol visible in front of you. The Mint is on the right hand side of the street and the Visitor’s Center is located on Cherokee Avenue between Colfax and 14th Avenues.
Our visitors often use misspellings and abbreviations for Denver, Colorado
including Colarado, Calorado, Colorada, Colarada, CO and Col. Those
words are included for user convenience.